Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen officiated at the SAFTI City Groundbreaking Ceremony on 28 June 2019. As part of the ceremony, Dr Ng participated in the symbolic sod turning. Construction for SAFTI City is expected to commence soon. He was also introduced to the key features of SAFTI City through a Virtual Reality (VR) walkthrough.
Speaking at the event, Dr Ng highlighted the importance of developing SAFTI City to provide a realistic training environment for our soldiers to meet the evolving security threats that Singapore faces. He said, "The face of the likely battlefield for a new generation of Singaporeans has changed… the chances of the SAF fighting in jungle ops have diminished considerably. Conversely, the odds that the SAF will be called into operations in built-up areas, even high density precincts, whether it is for peacekeeping operations, humanitarian assistance disaster relief (HADR) or other types of operations, have gone up… the SAFTI City that we are building will bring us to a new level and this facility, SAFTI City, together with the facilities that we are building now in Queensland, Australia will provide SAF soldiers with the most advanced training facilities globally. It will prepare them to conduct a wide range of operations that include homeland security, counter-terrorism, and disaster relief operations as well as conventional operations in all types of terrain."
Scheduled to open progressively from 2023, SAFTI City, jointly developed by the Singapore Army and the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), will provide a realistic urban environment for soldiers to train for homeland security and urban operations. It will replicate Singapore's highly urbanised streetscapes and the commercial-residential areas. Key urban features in SAFTI City will include an integrated Transport Hub, comprising a bus interchange and an MRT station with multiple surface exits, high-rise interconnected buildings, dense building clusters, and multiple road networks. The buildings and the road networks will also be configurable, providing soldiers with varied, challenging and realistic training.
SAFTI City will be a smart facility, leveraging smart technologies to enhance training effectiveness and soldiers' learning experience. Soldiers will experience immersive training in the fully instrumented city, which is equipped with battlefield effects simulators as well as smart targets with shoot-back capabilities, to simulate operational complexities to challenge soldiers and hone their competencies. The training outcomes of soldiers will be enhanced through the use of data analytics and video monitoring. Coupled with real-time collation and analysis of data, soldiers can receive prompt and accurate feedback on individual and team performances, enabling our soldiers to train safely, more efficiently, and effectively in realistic environments.
Dr Ng was accompanied by Chief of Defence Force (CDF) Lieutenant-General (LG) Melvyn Ong, Chief of Army (COA) Major-General Goh Si Hou, Chief Executive of DSTA Mr Tan Peng Yam, and other officials from the Ministry of Defence, the Singapore Army, and DSTA.